Netanyahu: Land, planning reforms to bring down housing prices

"First and foremost, we need to implement reforms in an effort to boost the competitiveness of the Israeli economy," PM says.

By SHARON WROBEL
July 2, 2009 22:45
1 minute read.
Netanyahu: Land, planning reforms to bring down housing prices

Binyamin Netanyahu 248.88. (photo credit: AP)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday that the planned reforms in planning and construction procedures and infrastructure building will make affordable housing available and help to close social gaps. "First and foremost, we need to implement reforms in an effort to boost the competitiveness of the Israeli economy," said Netanyahu at the 17th Annual Caesarea Economic Forum organized by the Israel Democracy Institute in Eilat. "The biggest expenditure of an Israeli family is the purchase of an apartment. In Israel this a very difficult endeavor. We are currently at number 120 in the world in terms of the time it takes to buy an apartment and the aim is to get to number 20." "It is also difficult to renovate - try to close a balcony, build a pergola or add a room - it is hell, hell on earth." Netanyahu promised that the government will enforce reforms within the Israel Land Administration to facilitate and shorten waiting times for building permits and simplify planning procedures with the aim of lowering housing prices so that people will not have to pay off their mortgage for the rest of their lives. "We will do three things to improve the dire situation of the housing market: reform the ILA; reform planning and construction committees to cut the bureaucracy; and engage in road-building and the construction of trains from the Negev to the Galilee," said Netanyahu. Netanyahu added that improved availability and affordability of housing and better road-building would in turn help close social gaps. "We have been waiting for these reforms for many years," said Netanyahu. "The reforms represent an enormous engine of growth that has not been used yet and which could increase annual growth by 1% to 2% within 15 years."


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